We are supporting Loneliness Awareness Week 2020 with a series of free events 15-19th June. Loneliness is something we all face at times in our lives, but research shows that this can be harder at certain times in our lives – including becoming a parent. 

Becoming a parent is a time of transition, as your life changes and adapts to make room for your new baby. It’s exciting, terrifying, stressful and exhausting. Building up a network of support and friendship during this time is important for your mental health and general wellbeing. 

In normal times, you may be going to a wide range of baby groups, postnatal exercise classes, support groups and seeing health professionals. You’d have friends and family around you, supporting you as you get to know and understand your baby’s needs and navigate the ever-changing world of becoming a parent. 

But these aren’t normal times. Right now, we are social-distancing. From antenatal classes to baby groups, everything is online. Where family and friends could pop in and help you with the house, enjoy their first cuddles with your baby and give you a much needed hug, they now have to stay outside and keep two meters away. It’s not how any of us envisaged this time! 

This week we want to offer a space for you to come and hang out, chat to others in the same situation and listen to experts discussing some of the issues new parents face. We want to help you find new friends, figure out where to go for support and build coping strategies to get you through to a time when we can meet in person, hug each other and cuddle the babies!

Programme of events 

Friday 19th June: Zoom social 12-2pm. Drop in for as long or as little as you like. Mums, dads, babies, siblings and pets all welcome. Register: https://bit.ly/3fxDCd9

Wednesday 17th June: Watch the recording below. In this workshop our experts discussed loneliness in parenting, with a particular focus on identity as a new parent and looking after your mental health and wellbeing. 

Panel:

Charlie Blyth is a Health Visitor and runs The Healthy Child Co. supporting new parents of 0-5 year olds, with a range of issues including feeding, sleep, health and wellbeing.
www.thehealthychildco.com

Claire Nutt is a specialist Mental Health Midwife working for North Bristol NHS Trust, and massage therapist. www.clairenutt.co.uk

Nichola Gascoigne is a Counsellor who specialises in issues including anxiety, self-esteem, pregnancy, the postnatal phase and transition into parenthood. She co-founded the Birth and Wellbeing Partnership with Claire. www.bristolcounselling.net

Thursday 18th June: Watch the recording below. In this workshop our experts discussed loneliness with a focus on feeding, and finding your support network in the early months with a newborn. They also answered lots of breastfeeding questions at the end of the workshop.

Panel: 

Kate Battersby is a midwife and lactation consultant. She supports new mums establishing breastfeeding, understanding their babies sleep and feeding patterns and overcoming feeding issues. www.theperfectstart.org.uk

Michelle Weeks is birth and postnatal doula. As a postnatal doula, she supports new parents building confidence and self-belief within the new family dynamic.
www.doulashell.co.uk